Parker is now offering multi-course dinners for delivery three days a week, with dishes like white sea bass roasted in miso butter, chicken liver mousse with rosemary focaccia and a dry-aged rib eye steak with tomato, corn and bread salad, fresh mozzarella and pickled red onion chimichurri.
Local chef Charlie Parker has started delivering meals locally. Photo courtesy Charlie Parker.
The chef and Menlo Park native started Charlie Parker Provisions after his most recent employer, Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto, closed permanently in late July. It started informally, with Parker making dinners once a week for friends and family. On Wednesdays, he'd send that week's menu out to a group text and friends would come pick the food up on Sundays.
"It was a way to stay in touch with friends and help them out," he said.
This eventually snowballed, and he was introduced to the owner of Namesake Cheesecake in Menlo Park, who happened to have a kitchen available for use. He's been preparing all of the meals out of that space for the last month.
Parker has cooked at numerous notable local restaurants, including Manresa in Los Gatos, The Village Pub in Woodside, Ubuntu in Napa and three Daniel Patterson establishments (Plum Bar in Oakland, Haven in Oakland and Alfred's Steakhouse in San Francisco).
His goal with the meal delivery service is to provide "well-rounded, thoughtful dishes that can be reheated and not lose their integrity." All the components of a dish are kept separate to preserve their quality and come with reheating and plating instructions. (The sea bass, for example, was cooked to medium rare so it could be reheated in the oven without being overcooked.)
Charlie Parker is cooking seasonal, multi-course meals three days a week, from local fish to rib eye steaks. Photo courtesy Charlie Parker.
Parker describes his cooking style as French- and Italian-based, using Northern California ingredients. For this Sunday, he offered a roasted bone-in pork chop with smoked country potato salad, grilled peaches, frisée and basil and a pickled chanterelle mushroom jus as well as tomato soup and smoked eggplant hummus.
Parker said he wants to work in restaurants again, but with all the uncertainty facing the industry, he's planning to focus on the meal delivery service for as long as it's successful.
"I don't see this going away anytime soon," he said of the pandemic.
The meals are available on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; Parker delivers the meals between 4-5 p.m. To place an order, go to charlieparkerprovisions.com.